The Dallas Cowboys remain unaware of Ezekiel Elliott’s Sunday status. Whoever totes the rock, run success is key to caging the Falcons.
Sure it doesn’t sound like a novel claim. The Dallas Cowboys offense is built around rushing and victory largely depends on ground success.
However when facing the Atlanta Falcons defense, rushing prowess is a must. It’s crucial to trading blows and keeping their aerial assault under wraps.
ATLANTA AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL
The Falcons’ pass units rank in the top 10 on both sides. While they rush the ball efficiently, the pass offense is 6th in total yards and 4th in yards per attempt.
The offensive pass success is matched on the defensive side. Atlanta’s pass defense ranks 10th in total yards and 9th in yards per attempt.
While not atrocious defending the run, it’s the key attack point and Achilles heel. Their run defense ranks 18th in total yards and 23rd in yards per carry.
100 YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST
Let’s take this a step further. Atlanta has only held 3 of 8 opponents below 100+ rushing yards. They lost four of the five games when unable to do so.
In the opener Chicago ran for 125 yards and still fell short. The next four opponents who topped the century rushing mark walked away victorious.
On the flip side, Dallas has broken 100 yards rushing six times. While not a perfect indicator of victory, they compiled a 4-2 record when doing so.
KANSAS CITY WINNING FORMULA
Much like the Chiefs win last week, consistent rushing gains will keep the high velocity Falcons offense on the sideline for extended bouts.
The longer star quarterback Matt Ryan is a spectator, the more time the Cowboys defense has to regroup and return full steam to harass him.
Control the ball, convert red zone trips to touchdowns, and limit the chances to score for the high flying Falcons offense.
Regardless of who carries the ball this week for Dallas, the winning formula is a strong rushing attack and it must remain the focus.
FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE COWBOYS
If Ezekiel Elliott sits on Sunday, don’t discount the three-headed monster behind him.
Morris is a two-time Pro Bowler. His slimmed down physique is showing added quickness with an 8.3 yards average on 14 carries.
McFadden has fresh legs and is only two seasons removed from 1,089 yards.
Rod Smith is a young bruiser who runs with bad intentions (10 carries, 6.9 ypc).
Against Atlanta’s soft rush defense, these three can cause ample damage.
The fourth wrinkle is Dak Prescott‘s read option. He used it masterfully to gash the Chiefs and will continue to do so confusing the Falcons run defense.